A Father’s Advice

Before Julia headed off to college, she and I took a late summer father-daughter trip to Colorado to see The Dave Matthews Band at the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

The show was fantastic! 

If you haven’t been to Red Rocks, you’re really missing something! The setting is stunning, and the acoustics are incredible. 

There was more to the trip, however than a great show. Julia is our youngest. Her departure for college effectively marked a transition for her and us, as she set out to begin an independent life of her own.  

The morning following the concert, I sat in warm sunshine on a bench outside the Holiday Inn Express in Littleton, Colorado, jotting down some thoughts for a letter I planned to slip into Julia’s suitcase. Fathers rarely refrain from offering advice, as daughters know all too well!

Recently, I found my notes from that day while cleaning out some files.  

I thought I might share them to remind myself to live up to my own advice. 

A Father’s Advice, September 15, 2005

1. Be conscious, but not self-conscious. Be concerned for others but true to yourself.

2. Accept sorrows that always come. The reservoir that holds your tears was carved by gifts previously received.

3. There is good in everything bad, and bad in everything good. Recognize this, and understand you are free to choose your direction, but know there are consequences to what you choose.

4. Lean into discomfort. Growth requires that you break out of your shell.

5. Never worry. If an action can be taken, take it. If not, let it go.

6. Learn to be present. Emotional pain arises from re-opening past troubles or worrying about the future. Peace is found in the present moment. 

7. Practice being the most positive and enthusiastic person you know. Good results always follow.

8. When under stress, no matter how busy you think you are, set time aside for strenuous exercise and inspirational reading. This is essential for life balance.

9. Seek out connections to positive, nourishing people. The best friends are those involved in causes greater than themselves.

10. Have fun. The next five years have the potential of being the best years of your life. (This is always true!)

That was my fatherly advice to Julia seventeen years ago. 

What advice would you offer to a young adult today?


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7 Replies to “A Father’s Advice”

  1. Tim—- Always great !!! It feels so good to find something from your past that you shared lovingly with a child of yours—– It is nourishing both for them and for YOU !!! I think your TOP 10 are very good. You ask what would one add to that list—– 11. A STRANGER is just a friend you have not met yet. 12. Always try to gather friends around you to share thoughts, feelings, and good and bad times with—seek their advice as it will most likely be given truthfully. There could obviously be more but these two help encourage our children or anyone else to get out there and SHARE for it never does us good long term to keep all of our thoughts and feelings locked up inside ourselves. Your # 9 speaks to this in some ways but I think adding these other two # 11 and #12 really help drive home the point that humans were not built to push through this crazy and complicated world by ourselves— we are meant to be sharing people and forever striving to help others —- then who knows they might just be able to help us in our times of need or uncertain times…..You know that because that is exactly what you are trying to do with this wonderful and sharing exercise of yours called “TOWARDS A LIFE WELL-LIVED”. God Bless You Man—– Your Friend Wren.


  2. great list. I will be printing it for my files,
    I might add: ” Asking for help and giving help is always an act of strength, not weakness.” and ” Saying I do not understand is always the first step as we all start as beginners.”


  3. Absolutely fabulous… these are timeless and I will keep the list handy! I chose to send Drew a text every day when he went to college. Many required context of what he was doing to understand. But I will share three – that may be universally relevant to a new college student (and perhaps others):

    1. The best way to get started, is to get started!

    2. Be purposeful. Know what you are shooting for and why.

    3. Stay flexible. It’s good to have goals, but don’t become a prisoner to them. Allow yourself to be open to “the new”.

    Love your blog, Tim. Thanks for your thoughts.


    1. Thanks Scott. I love the additions.

      It seems that life is easier to live in reverse than forward. Perhaps that’s why we are so inclined to offer advice to our children!




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